China’s Foreign Ministry has addressed accusations that the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, where the disease first emerged, saying the World Health Organization (WHO) has found no evidence to support the claim.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Thursday, April 16, “The head of WHO has repeatedly said there’s no evidence that the coronavirus was made in a lab. Many well-known medical experts in the world also believe that claims of the so-called laboratory leaks have no scientific basis.”
Mr Zhao made the remark in response to a question about accusations the coronavirus which has infected more than two million people globally, originated in a lab in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the epidemic first emerged in late 2019.
United States President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (April 15) that his government is trying to determine whether the coronavirus emanated from a lab in Wuhan, China, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing “needs to come clean” on what it knows.
The source of the virus remains a mystery. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Tuesday that US intelligence indicates that the coronavirus likely occurred naturally, as opposed to being created in a laboratory in China, but there is no certainty either way.
Fox News reported on Wednesday that the virus originated in a Wuhan laboratory not as a bioweapon, but as part of China’s effort to demonstrate that its efforts to identify and combat viruses are equal to or greater than the capabilities of the US.
Pompeo, in a Fox News Channel interview after Trump’s news conference, said “we know this virus originated in Wuhan, China,” and that the Institute of Virology is only a handful of miles away from the wet market.
This report and others have suggested the Wuhan lab where virology experiments take place and lax safety standards there led to someone getting infected and appearing at a nearby wet market, where the virus began to spread.
At a White House news conference Trump was asked about the reports of the virus escaping from the Wuhan lab, and he said he was aware of them.
‘We are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation that happened,’ he said.
Asked if he had raised the subject in his conversations with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said: “I don’t want to discuss what I talked to him about the laboratory, I just don’t want to discuss. It’s inappropriate right now.” (Source: The Straits Times)